Heirs of the Sun

For all intents and purposes, the Heirs of the Sun are just the Warriors of Sunlight rebranded. Aside from the similar name to the Warriors of the Sun, heirs receive the exact same medals for performing the exact same duties as their original Dark Souls (DS1) counterparts. These are then offered to an altar with the same statue of Gwyn’s firstborn, who continues to be referenced as the God of the Sun in item descriptions. The covenant likewise draws influence from the sunlight covenant’s most prominent member, Solaire. Our first rank rewards as Heirs of the Sun are the Sun Sword and Sunlight Parma. The former “sun long sword” (太陽の直剣) shares its name and design with the Sunlight Straight Sword from DS1, though the high-quality weapon looks to have faded with age since Solaire wielded it. The latter “sun small shield” (太陽の小盾) appears much newer but depicts an “old warrior” (古い戦士) resembling Solaire on its face. Clearly, the Heirs are very much the Warriors’ successors.

Medal engraved with the symbol of the sun. Offer it to the altar to deepen the bonds of the covenant.

The heat slightly tinging it wells you up with pride. The warriors who possess this medal left this land, but the sun itself never sets. Now the battle to become the heir of the sun really begins.

However, times have changed. Like other covenants we come across, the heirs now use special rings to mark membership, theirs also increasing the might of their miracles — or at least they would, if the heirs hadn’t lost that knowledge. The ring’s description confirms that the firstborn’s tales so revered by the Warriors of Sunlight are no longer taught, though the war god does provide the text for his father’s Sunlight Spear to the most devoted Heirs of the Sun. Aside from reaffirming DS1’s implications concerning the firstborn’s inheritance, this final covenant reward proves that the god is still alive and able to interact through his effigy at the Sunlight Altar. In that case, why doesn’t he instruct his latest followers on how to use the power of sunlight they seek from him? Because it is no longer necessary. Sunlight miracles can be acquired from plenty of sources outside the covenant, and this would have been especially true during the time before Drangleic was reduced to countless ruins.

Ring of covenantors of the Heirs of the Sun. Slightly increases miracles’ attack power.

The teachings of the sun that have already long been lost were once revered by strong warriors.

Comrades that have confirmed the covenant can jot down a gold-colored seal and become easily summoned to the same world.

The firstborn’s Sunlight Blade spell hides within in a chest at the Shrine of Amana while his Great Lightning Spear can be acquired in the Pit, associating them both the Heide civilization. The latter miracle can be looted from the Undead Crypt, which borders Amana and is known for preserving knowledge otherwise lost in the outside world. The lesser Lightning Spear is similarly found in a chest in Earthen Peak where we also find the Sunlight Altar, showing that it was known even to Alken. Then there is Heavenly Thunder taught by both Targray and Cromwell, the former a knight of blue carrying on Heide’s legacy and the latter a cleric from Lindelt. This miracle, which creates a ball of lightning shooting out in random directions, has been labeled as both a prototype and epigone of Lightning Spear, which sounds contradictory but might actually be reconcilable.

Randomly fires lightning in the surroundings. Called both the epigone and prototype of Lightning Spear.

It is impossible to completely control the power of gods, but this miracle will magnificently strike down one’s enemies if you are fortunate enough to be favored.

There was no doubt trial and error in Gwyn and the gods developing their mastery over the light of the king’s Lord Soul, making something like Heavenly Thunder a feasible step in the process to Sunlight Spear — even the Spear’s description acknowledges it as merely “one of” the oldest miracles. But the Heavenly Thunder known to modern people is more likely a recreation of that primitive art, the description highlighting men’s own difficulty in controlling the gods’ power. Indeed, according to Splintering Lightning Spear’s description, there have been various derivatives of the firstborn’s old miracle which ultimately derives from the father’s sunlight spell from the early Age of Fire. Whomever is the predecessor referenced in the description, the point remains the same: these miracles were, at least once upon a time, more widely circulated and continue to have variations passed down in the New World.

Heavenly Thunder (left) compared to Great Lightning Spear (middle) and Splintering Lightning Spear (right)

Miracle that throws a spear of the sun’s light. Carries the power of an extremely large, special soul.

One of what are called the oldest miracles. It is said to have once existed in this world with the world’s beginning.

Things developed from an early miracle. Throws lightning that split into many.

Various subkinds have been produced from the old miracle that a predecessor of old times left behind. This too is one of them.

Where did humans in the region learn the obscure miracles of a disgraced deity? From his cult, naturally. While their name has been lost to time, the standard Lightning Spears confirm that the “clan” who revered Gwyn’s firstborn in DS1 left the miracles behind in their descriptions. The text for the covenant’s medals also tells us that the warriors have left this land, implying that they were at one point present. The Sunlight Parma’s description suggests the same; these were apparently legendary warriors whose tales of cooperation continue to be passed down even if stories of their war god do not. DS1 had already implied that he maintained a small but sizable following in the Undead Burg. In that case, it is possible for some of those followers to have been warped to the New World with parts of the town and Anor Londo, meaning that they would be among the population establishing Heide. And in the course of cooperating, they would integrate, thereby exchange ideas and knowledge, like miracles.

Old miracle that warriors who once served the God of the Sun are considered to have worked out.

Has effect that boosts attack and defense power of the caster and those in the surroundings for a short time.

Miracle that throws a spear of lightning.

It is said that the clan of one who was once revered as the God of the Sun left behind this miracle. The name of the former god’s clan got buried in the flow of time. But still, the sun continues to shine, by no means dwindling.

Various references to Solaire reinforce this scenario. The Sunlight Parma affirms that DS1’s knight of the sun has been preserved in tradition, particularly among members of the covenant. His sword, which initially had no sunlight power despite its incredible make, fills the holder with a mysterious heat according to its description, similar to the firstborn’s sun medals. This indicates his soul’s fervent desire to be like the solar body did imbue such power into the weapon, even if it doesn’t manifest in-game. (Dark Souls III [DS3] allows us to draw it out) Clearly, he is an important figure in the covenant. This begs of the question of whether he too landed in Drangleic and had his exploits recorded. However, Solaire’s journey in the previous game would end with him either going mad to a parasite or possibly link the fire. In that case, it is more likely that others familiar with the eccentric adherent to Gwyn’s firstborn, such as his fellow Warriors of the Sun, would be the ones to pass around those stories. Either way, it firmly ties Lordran’s sunlight warriors to Drangleic.

Small shield depicting an old warrior.

The warriors of legend have all died out or no longer show their forms.

But the deeds they performed have been handed down and continue to live on in stories even now. This warrior too is one of them.

Well-forged long sword. The craftsmanship of the sword itself is excellent but its origin is uncertain, and you don’t feel a special power.

It feels a little like it doesn’t live up to its name. Still, if holding this sword, you will be filled with heat for some reason.

This integration of Warriors of Sunlight into Heiden culture explains how and why the civilization collected and retained the firstborn’s miracles up until their collapse, at which point some were still inherited by later kingdoms and outside the continent to a lesser extent. Stranded in a strange New World, differences over the pantheon were negligible when compared to failure in preserving Old World culture — especially when the most unorthodox Darkmoon cult was now taking charge. The Warriors would share their war god’s lightning miracles, and Heide would recover the rest. This rapprochement between sects of sun worshipers may have influenced the invention of works like the Old Sun Ring. Regardless, it is clear that the Warriors of Sunlight contributed much to the growth of their god’s miracles even among those who didn’t strictly worship him. Why then would the god feel the need to share those same arts to those who did? As various item descriptions relate, even with the warriors themselves now gone, the sun continues to shine unabated.

Old miracle of the sun. Enhances weapon with the power of the sun’s light. The power of the sun’s light is, in other words, lightning.

The sun brings grace to everything upon the earth. Even if those who believe in the sun have died out, that doesn’t change.

Nonetheless, the Warriors of Sunlight have all died, left, or otherwise stopped making their presence known during our journey. And yet, now, new worshipers like potentially us are kneeling to the firstborn’s altar. As the description to his medal relates to those warriors who succeeded in their mission and received one, the battle to be the sun’s heir has truly begun. Every member is competing to be the worthiest to succeed the old guard and acquire the power of Sunlight Spear. These new cooperators writing golden signs hope to join their predecessors in legend. To that end, they endeavor to prove themselves, very much like their deity, who is happy to oblige. After all, item descriptions refer to the old Warriors of the Sun as “clan”, (一族) united by their shared faith and dedication to cooperating. And having been cast out by his own tribe, all he had left were those human followers who would still call him God.

Sacred Oath presents the best example for his affinity. With a name like “Solemn Vow” (固い誓い) and a menu graphic featuring three swords crossed in solidarity, this tale of the war god is obviously about the covenant’s promise to cooperate, (and DS3 later confirms a link to the covenant’s very start) hence its effect to both heal and strengthen surrounding allies. Those who declared their full-throat devotion to serving Gwyn’s firstborn were willing to stand together as comrades come what may. With such a heartwarming experience with his adherents, how could the god of war not continue to support that clan, wherever or whenever they reach out? Whether Sacred Oath itself was devised by humans or medials, (DS3 ultimately reveals it to be the latter) the covenant was proof that blood ties were not absolute. Theirs was a family of ideology, camaraderie, sure to bring solace for a god struggling to live up to his father’s legacy — even if that blinding beacon wasn’t without his own failings.

Straid derives Blinding Bolt from the Old King Soul. This miracle amasses souls and converts them into its namesake “brilliant ball of lightning”, (輝かしい雷球) the mass of light shooting its bolts in random directions. The previous sun god apparently created only to forbid the art, though this didn’t stop the tale from surviving into the present day as shown when Licia and Feeva performs the miracle. Such peculiar treatment of his own spell plus its description indicates that Gwyn didn’t formally develop the art; rather, it was the product of a fit of passion. Indeed, the spell’s random nature — potentially striking someone other than its proper target — brings to mind blind rage or grief.  The fact that it is a miracle also indicates that this brief stint of emotional turmoil wreaking collateral damage was worthy of chronicling, an embarrassing period in Gwyn’s life which he would prefer people forget — though evidently his soul never will. DS1 implicated that such events did take place, so ripples felt beyond just the Anor Londo royalty come as no surprise.

Miracle that creates a giant soul mass and converts it into a ball of light that fires its own lightning.

It was created by the God of the Sun of distant old but sealed by the creator himself. Is it his intense wrath or lament?

Not even a king so talented, arrogant, and obsessed with control could avoid lashing out when struck with profound sorrow, committing his most consequential act of evil in the process. Gwyn was by no means perfect, so his heir needn’t reach for an impossible standard. But the later sun god’s lack of talents beyond combat has proven nonetheless fatal to his prospects. Wherever he is now, the banished firstborn has no obvious path forward as the successor. (though DS3 does showcase a plan, at least) The clan simply will not accept him. Yet still, he strives to reclaim their recognition, taking whatever followers he can get. A god no more and yet a god to so many; this covenant is perhaps the medial’s last hope in this fruitless endeavor. Will he one day be the heir of the sun? Should we be up to the challenge, we can stand as his example.